I always prided myself in being able to emulate almost any style. I worked with Guy Fieri for years, and that was well outside my natural design aesthetic. I've created digital paintings in the style of Jasper Johns for a wine label. I'm constantly given examples of the style that my clients would like to use as inspiration and I think that's a good thing.
As a designer you always have to walk that line between what you like and what's right for the client. Sometimes that ends up being what the client likes vs what you like. But in my opinion if a skull and crossbones made of kitchen utensils is right for the brand, then I'm on it (you know who you are).
Through the years though, I've found more and more clients citing "your style" as why they've pursued working with TIV. And I find that interesting since so often I'm emulating another style. Here are the conclusions I've come to:
In a creative endeavor like branding and graphic design, you're foolish if you think your fingerprint isn't on everything you do. Even if the thread that connects one project to another is barely visible, it's impossible to do great work if you don't leave your mark on it.
Looking at old work is painful for a guy like me. At the time it was the best thing I had ever done. But now, all I can see is everything that I would have done differently if I had the project right now. I hope that's because I'm getting better and better. But regardless of the perceived quality, I'm definitely becoming more and more comfortable with my style and the progression of that style as a natural solution to some extremely varied design projects.
I don't put work on my website or out into the world that I don't like. I could have done the rebranding for Hershey's, but if I didn't like it I wouldn't include it on my site. So what I like and what is most naturally my style shines through all of TIV's promotional materials. And as such, we promote my style, even if not intentionally.
So I guess the answer to my question is, "Yes, every designer should have a style." And every client should look for a designer based on style. It makes the work more natural and the end results inevitably better.